To mark National Customer Service Week, Capita’s Customer Experience Design and Delivery Director, Charlie Whitworth, underlines the importance of understanding why customers are really contacting you.

Right now, customers need our help more than ever. The pandemic is severely affecting people’s lives. Customers who have fallen behind with their mortgage payments for the first time, for example, may be too upset or unwilling to talk about the fact that they have lost their jobs and ask for help with managing their debts.

Even during happier times, customers contact organisations for many reasons, some of which they’re happy to talk to you about and some of which they prefer not to disclose straight away.

On many occasions, those reasons are associated with a specific event in their life – what we call at Capita “life moments”. Customers may clearly describe some events, such as moving to a new home or welcoming a new baby into the family, but they may be reluctant to reveal the underlying reasons for their contact if those are less positive.

If we're to deliver great service and experience for all our customers, it’s important that we recognise this and address the needs associated with these life moments. It’s about treating our customers fairly and as individuals; it's about having a better understanding of their personal journey, not just of the request they’re making at this specific moment.

It means that we can tailor our response to our customers and give them the support they really need.

What are life moments?

Life moments can be fixed, recurrent or transient. They can be something that most people experience during their life or something that is acutely specific to an individual. They can happen once, occasionally or frequently.

One of Capita clients, for example, always has a lot of direct debit cancellations just before and immediately after Christmas (which is a life moment for many of us) and we’re working with it to offer its customers alternative payment schemes rather than simply letting them fall into debt.

Why are life moments important?

Put simply, they're important to our customers so they should be important to us. If we're going to deliver the best customer experience, we need to understand how we can address our customers' needs and what support we have at our disposal.

This doesn’t mean that we make special exceptions for every customer, but it does mean that we consider how we’ll address different life moments and how we’ll support our customers to create the best outcomes for them that we can.

What’s Capita doing about life moments?

There’s no one single answer to the question of how best to address the impact of customers’ life moments on them. Technology isn’t a panacea, but it is an important tool for delivering a great customer experience.

At Capita, we’ve created a customer experience lab to quickly develop solutions that improve the services we provide for our customers. A team of designers, software developers and project managers have access to a range of new technologies that allow them to take the customer life moments that we’ve identified and design and build prototypes and test new innovative ideas for addressing them.

Through this and other approaches, we're making a range of improvements that include:

  • creating tools that enable our advisors to have better conversations with our customers
  • pre-empting customers’ life moments and proactively offering support when they need it
  • training our advisors to understand our customers’ life moments better (especially when our advisors may never have experienced these life moments themselves)
  • working with our clients to make small changes to their policies to match their customers’ needs more closely.

Conclusion

When you focus on your customers’ life moments and seek to understand the underlying reasons for them getting in touch, you have a key tool for treating them fairly as individuals and delivering great experiences.

Thinking about your organisation?